One of my great pleasures in life is reading, but guilt sneaks in whenever I sit down to imbibe in a gluttony of chapters. “A waste of time,” whispers the little voice in my head. “You must vacuum, dust, write something, or cook a meal … anything but read.” Such lies must be refuted instantly.
Not Just for Writing Yes, oh yes! We write books. But do we really care about them, ours and other people’s? Do we open them, treasure the smoothness of the paper, read a word or two? Or do we leave them on the shelf never to be really appreciated? In that case, those books should
I have loved the written word as long as I knew it existed. One of my favourite early memories is of accompanying my mother to the grocery store and reading as many Little Golden Books as possible while she paid for her purchases. Yes, in those days ,children’s books were displayed next to the checkout line. If I was lucky, Mom would agree to buy me a book and I’d choose one I hadn’t yet perused.
Are you going on vacation this summer? Are you taking your writing with you?
Even asking such a question says something about the vocation, or avocation, that we love. For what nurse, accountant, librarian, or barista takes work with them on vacation? Yet as writers we do this all the time—or feel guilty if we don’t.
Why do we do this? Is it an actual fleshing out of the old saw: “I can’t not write”? Or is it something else? Fear perhaps that people will forget us, that we’ll lose the momentum we think we’ve gained, that our drive and enthusiasm will evaporate in the sun of more laid-back days, that we’ll forget how to write?
I believe in taking a vacation from writing. Here’s why:
Writing involves not only good technique but also personal investment. It involves practice and learning.
An acquaintance said recently that practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect. In other words, if we continue to repeat our mistakes, we are not getting any closer to perfection.
Michael J. Fox said he doesn’t aim for perfection but for excellence.
Sometimes it’s a matter of semantics. The key is to do our best at whatever we are doing, and that will always require effort, practice, and time.
Most writers are also readers. Here are some of the books I am currently working my way through. A similar post appeared on Janet Sketchley’s blog on January 29 and on my blog February 12. Some of the books are the same; some I’ve added since then.
Do you like how-to books? Memoirs? Novels? Do you carve out regular time for reading or is it hit and miss? Do bookstores and libraries draw you in with an irresistible pull?
As you know, I’m eclectically interested. The same holds true of what I like to read.
Currently, I’m actively reading the following:
A Fool and His Monet by Sandra Orchard
In my opinion, this is Sandra’s best novel to date. It is her first Serena Jones Mystery and I can see this series about a female FBI agent stretching well into the future. I’ve just gotten nicely started, but it’s so much fun! My only complaint … I wish I had more time to read it.
Since we emphasize love each February, why not think about the resources we writers are particularly fond of?
A New Journal
A beautiful handcrafted leather cover or a whimsical cartoon character beckoning you to open a pristine new journal, full of nothing but potential … is there anything more inspiring—or terrifying? Tentatively, you grab your favourite pen (see below) and make that first mark on the page. And then you’re off to the races, sometimes writing at lightning speed, sometimes pausing and wondering if you’ll ever again write a coherent sentence. I have a love-hate relationship with my journals. Most often I assign a specific subject to each journal—and then end up using them as scrap paper because they’re at hand. I’m sure I’d be surprised at what I’d find if I took the time to read through old (and not-so-old) journals.